PCT mm 664.4 – Away from the fire


Smoke still fills the next valley to the south of me.


I did not sleep well last night for waking up to look for smoke.  It’s hard to sleep when you know a wildfire is so close.  From about 11 to 2 am the smoke was very thick and had that “doused fire” smell.  I knew they were actively working the fire but had no idea if it was under or out of control.

Either way, I tried to sleep in a little, but I probably got less that four hours of sleep.  I got moving about six o’clock and made the campground by the highway by 9:30.  There was plenty of water there so I did not have to trek to the spring.  Most of the crew I was with yesterday made it all the way here last night and hitched into town.  I had taken enough food to skip this town and go all the way to Kennedy Meadows, so after cameling up and a snack, I set off to hike up out of Walker pass.  It was more desert terrain and a 2000 ft climb.  The wind was not strong, so it was a hot climb up.  I stopped twice for water.

There is still smoke in several of the valleys, but I am away from it now.

Once at the top, I had my pick of campsites over the next few miles.  I wanted to go another mile or two since it was barely after 12 and the breeze had picked up a bit to keep things cool.  As I sat to drink water, I noticed I was almost dozing off.  It was time to find the next shade tree to stop.  There was one a mile away that I was headed for, but only a quarter mile further I found a suitable one.  I didn’t bother to cook, I just laid out my mat and tried to sleep.  The usual sun movement had me waking up every 30 or 45 minutes, so it was not a peaceful nap.  I ended up cooking rice and heading out at 5.  It started out hot, but a breeze finally kicked in and cooled things off.

This gate has a complicated latching mechanism. Fancy for the backwoods.

The terrain to the east is nothing but barren desert.

A few hours later I passed two hikers who had made camp for the night.  Apparently the fire just got the attention of the PCTA and they just issued a closure order from Tehachapi to Walker pass.  The last four days of my hike were now closed and I am about to get overrun with hikers skipping ahead.  Oh well.

When the sun gets lower, the vistas get better.

It turns out this fire is a pretty bad one.  It has grown to nearly 20,000 acres, and they have six planes and seven choppers working it.  It has already taken 100 structures and 150 more are in danger.


  1. Have not seen you post in almost a week. Hope things are okay.

  2. Ditto. What gives, Jim. You’re starting to scare us, man.

  3. Hey guys..I talked to Jim last week and he said he was about to enter an area that did not have cell service. He said it would probably take him about two weeks to finish with that section. I am hoping to hear from him by the end of this week.

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